Clark and the Seahawks, who drafted him last week, deny that he struck his then-girlfriend.
A hotel night manager told police in Ohio that Seahawks top draft pick Frank Clark threatened her and admitted hitting his girlfriend during a Nov. 15 altercation, according to newly released documents.
In a statement to police in Sandusky, Ohio, the day after the incident, manager Stephanie Burkhardt wrote that soon after she entered the couple’s hotel room Clark told her, “I will hit you like I hit her” and shouldered her out of the way before leaving. The documents, obtained by The Seattle Times via public-records request, supplement the initial police report.
Reached by The Times via telephone Friday, Burkhardt repeated what she said Clark had told her.
“Yes, he said it,’’ she said. “I would never lie about something like that.’’
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Her statements came the same day Clark, a 6-foot-3, 271-pound defensive end from Michigan, spoke to the media on the opening day of the Seahawks’ rookie camp, and coincided with Clark’s attorney saying the Seahawks were investigating the incident a day after the arrest.
Clark declined to discuss details of the case Friday at the Seahawks’ training facility in Renton but has denied striking his then-girlfriend, Diamond Hurt.
“I’ve been honest and up front this whole time as much as I can,” he said Friday. “Everything I’ve said to the coaches, to everyone who’s questioned me about it, I’ve been honest and up front from the very beginning. That’s all I can do.”
Records released Friday show that after receiving Burkhardt’s statement via email, Officer Martin Curran of the Perkins Township Police Department phoned her back and asked whether she wanted to press assault and threat charges against Clark. Burkhardt said she did not.
Burkhardt did not mention the comment she attributed to Clark immediately to police the night of the incident or to The Times during an interview earlier this week.
She said she forgot to tell police because she was too exhausted and preoccupied with how Hurt and her siblings were doing. Burkhardt said she left the scene after 1 a.m. and emailed her statement the following afternoon.
Perkins Township Police Chief Kenneth Klamar said Friday that unless Burkhardt pursued charges, there was nothing more police could do. But officers intentionally included the statement in the Clark arrest file obtained by The Times.
“We want the person reading it to get the complete picture of what happened,” Klamar said.
Burkhardt said she didn’t mention his comment during the first interview with The Times out of anxiety and fear of retaliation.
Clark, a 21-year-old standout from Michigan, was arrested at the Maui Sands, a hotel and waterpark resort in Sandusky where he and his girlfriend’s family had been vacationing. Two days later, Michigan dismissed him from the team.
She wasn’t contacted
Burkhardt said Sandusky Prosecutor Lynne Gast-King never contacted her before her decision to reduce Clark’s charges from first-degree misdemeanor domestic violence and assault to fourth-degree persistent disorderly conduct. Clark completed a 25-week domestic-violence awareness course and paid $350 in fines and court costs.
“I don’t know why they didn’t even question me about it,” Burkhardt said. “He straight up admitted to hitting her, and they didn’t do anything about it.’’
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Gast-King told The Times this week that she does not believe Clark “punched or slapped” Hurt despite statements to the contrary made by Hurt and several witnesses in the police report. The Seahawks, who selected Clark in the second round (63rd overall) last week, have said they would not draft a player who put his hands on a woman.
The official statement Burkhardt gave police said she hustled the children out of the room and waited inside with Hurt for police to arrive.
Burkhardt told police that she asked Clark to stay in the room until the police came. “Frank was putting his shoes on at the end of the bed and told me not to (expletive) talk to him …’’ her statement said. “On his way out of the room he told me he would hit me like he hit her as well as he shoulder checked me.’’
Hurt told responding officers that night she was “punched in the face” by Clark. Her two younger brothers also told police she was punched, according to the report.
Documents released Friday added other details not previously disclosed.
• Police witness Kristie Colie, 43, one of two women in a room next to Clark’s, said in her written statement the next day that she comforted three young children who ran out of the room and kept telling her “their sister’s boyfriend was punching her in the face.’’
• Hurt refused medical treatment at the scene for a welt on her cheek, but did visit a hospital the next day. In a follow-up call, she told Officer Curran she “didn’t realize how swollen her cheek was” until after police left the hotel. She claimed she’d struck her cheek on an end table and that it had turned “black and blue.’’
• Perkins police Officer Brent Adams wrote that he had Clark in the back of his patrol cruiser the night of the arrest and Clark told him Hurt “had been drinking” before the altercation. A breath test showed her blood-alcohol level at .000.
• In the same report, Adams wrote that Clark claimed his father “was a Chief of Police.’’ Clark’s father denied that in a brief interview Friday.
• In an arrest warrant, Curran signed a sworn statement saying Clark had punched Hurt in the left side of the face.
Seahawks acted quickly
The day after Clark was arrested, the Seahawks sent representatives to Michigan to investigate Clark, his Ohio defense attorney said Friday.
“I know they (Seahawks) were on site the day after the incident to find out what the status was,” said Ken Bailey, a criminal defense lawyer in Sandusky, Ohio.
“I don’t know the names of who they all talked to,” Bailey said of Seahawks representatives. “I know they were interviewing people at the school — team members, team staff — but I don’t know who.”
Seahawks officials have declined to say whom they talked to but said they did a detailed investigation and are satisfied that Clark did not strike Hurt. General Manager John Schneider said he was in Michigan as part of routine checks of potential draft picks.
Bailey, who was hired as Clark’s lawyer while Clark was still in jail, said he later learned about the team’s probe into the incident from Clark’s sports agent, and from Seahawks representatives.
Seattle was not the only team interested in drafting Clark that looked into his arrest, Bailey said.
“I can tell you this, there were more than one or two teams who were interested in Frank Clark,” said Bailey, who declined to identify the franchises. “There were multiple teams.”
Bailey said Friday that he can’t explain the discrepancies between information in the police investigation and the stories Clark and Hurt later told him and Gast-King about what happened.
“The fact that what they told me differs from what the police report says or what the witnesses told the police, I just don’t know what caused those discrepancies,” Bailey said.
Within a day after the incident, Bailey said, he had interviewed Clark in jail, and spoke to Hurt by phone. Both told him Clark didn’t strike Hurt, he said.
“They hadn’t talked to each other and they told me the same story,” Bailey said. “… As long as I’ve been involved, they both have been on that same page — that he didn’t punch her.”